Saudi robot Sara – programmed not to talk about politics

Published 27 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Sara wears traditional Saudi clothing.

Saudi Arabia’s first humanoid robot, Sara, is designed not to talk about sex or politics like the country’s women. The company is also behind Mohammed, an AI robot that was recently accused of sexual harassment.

Sara is 162 centimeters tall and, according to the robot itself, 25 years old. The humanoid was created by Riyadh-based QSS AI & Robots. The company’s CEO, Elie Metri, explains that Sara is designed to be “nice” and not talk about politics.

– She should be nice, not talk about politics, not talk about sex, because we are in Saudi Arabia. Those topics should not come up, Metri told Business Insider.

She also speaks both English and Arabic using the company’s proprietary language learning model, an AI program designed to recognize and generate text and speech.

Robot ‘gropes’ reporter

Sara wears traditional clothing in accordance with Saudi Arabia’s laws on women’s dress, which is supposed to be modest, with most wearing a full-length abaya. Although the country has relaxed some laws on women’s rights, they can still be punished for talking about sex or politics.

Recently, Mohammed, the company’s second humanoid robot, made headlines around the world when it was unveiled at an event. The robot reached out and touched a female reporter’s buttocks, which was caught on camera. But Metri says the reporter was simply standing too close to the robot and it accidentally touched her.

– When people talk, we move our hands, we are not mannequins, he says. It’s the same with a robot. Sexual assault is completely different from a robot hand touching a woman’s jacket.